“OK Google…”

Three weeks into the school year and I have shared a fair few Google short cuts with my class. One in particular is the use of “OK Google”. Using a microphone attached to our main class computer I have used it when we have quickly wanted to know spellings, definitions, facts, the weather and various other bits of information. It even reads some information back to you using text to speech, depending on your search query. It has also been a nice little incentive as pupils are always keen to be the one that asks Google the question.

Last week it provided me with a nice little learning point during a science lesson that I would like to share with you now.

We had started a topic on space and were using padlet to create our KWL grid for the topic. The pupils were initially demonstrating their existing knowledge on the subject and had produced a large bank of prior knowledge. They then added what they would like to know about the topic in the form of questions. After about 5 minutes of questions being added to the page we took a break to collate and organise our questions. We were sorting through the questions and one of them said

Did someone play golf on the moon?

I said that someone did indeed play golf on the moon but their name escapes me, a great question to answer as we research our topic. We continued to sort questions and remove duplicates when a post popped up onto the page:

Someone had answered the question! I asked who had contributed the information to our page. A hand slowly raised.

“I Googled it,” a small voice explained.

“When?” I asked.

“Just now. I asked Google.”

Now I was torn at this point. The pupil had quite clearly not been listening and so should surely be reprimanded for not listening to the teacher. However I was delighted that he had taken the initiative to search for the answer to a question so independently. I followed my gut and said in my sternest teacher voice “Right! Up to the front!” He nervously approached fearing the worst. As he reached the desk at the front of the class I cheerfully said “Show everyone what you did so everyone can learn from it!”

He proceeded to ask Google his question and the information was displayed on screen.

Looking at the information displayed, another pupil questioned the two dates shown in the extract on screen, prompting us to look at different sources of information in the results. This lead to a great discussion on how we can use various sources to verify information that we read on the internet and become critical of what we read to make sure the information we are using is accurate.

I love these moments with a class where a serendipitous moment leads you to a great discussion. Hopefully there will be many more throughout the year.


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